Australia Post report reveals pandemic fuelled 57% growth in e-commerce in 2020

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Australia Post has published its 2021 Inside Australian Online Shopping report which reveals that e-commerce grew by 57% in 2020 compared with 2019, driven by the Covid-19 pandemic as bricks and mortar outlets were forced to close and shoppers moved online.

Australia Post’s Ben Franzi, general manager, parcel and express services, said in 2020 online became an essential shopping channel: “Australians spent an incredible A$50.5bn [US$38.5bn] online last year, and e-commerce accounted for 16.3% of total retail spend.[1]

“Almost nine million households across the country bought something online as people shopped for the things they needed, avoiding large shopping centers and other busy retail settings. More than 1.3 million of these households were first-time shoppers with 93% of their initial purchases made between March and December.”

Increased comfort and confidence buying online meant buying habits shifted significantly as the year progressed. New online shoppers became regular shoppers by year’s end, while the more seasoned online shoppers ramped up the frequency of purchases, according to the report.

“We found that of the 240,000 households who made an online purchase for the first time in April, half were regular shoppers by the end of the year after shopping online in at least three of the months between May and December,” continued Franzi.

“When it comes to seasoned shoppers, the average household increased its online shopping frequency by at least 10 purchases over the year and the range of categories and retailers they purchased from also expanded significantly.

“Shoppers are more engaged and comfortable buying online than ever before and this trend has continued into 2021.  We’re seeing around five million households continue to buy on a monthly basis, which is 1.1 million more than the average in 2019,” Franzi concluded.

Across the country in 2020, every state and territory recorded double-digit growth. Victoria, which spent more time in lockdown than the rest of the country, led the way with year-on-year (YOY) purchase growth of 82%, followed by New South Wales with 50.5%.

Leading categories were food and liquor and home and garden products, up 77% and 70% YOY respectively, as people spent more days at home and invested their time on domestic projects.

Point Cook in western Melbourne was the top online shopping location nationally for the sixth year running. The biggest mover in the top 10 was Doreen in Melbourne’s Outer North, climbing 13 places in 12 months to take the number five spot.

The 2021 Inside Australian Online Shopping Report is available for download at

[1]Online Physical Goods Index (produced by Quantium), and ABS Retail Trade s.a. excluding cafés, restaurants and takeaway food services, Feb 2021.

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With over a decade of experience as a business and technology journalist working in B2B publishing, Hazel first joined UKi in 2011. After taking 18 months off to bring up her daughter and try her hand at marketing copywriting, she returned in January 2018 to do what she loves best – magazine editing! She is now the editor of UKi's Passenger Terminal World and Parcel and Postal Technology International magazines.

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